- This 17th-century royal residence in London is managed by Historic Royal Palaces.
- Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace, and lived there for a large amount of her life; it has been a home for the Royals for 300 years.
- It is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) as well as other members of the Royal family.
- Explore the lavish rooms of King William III and Queen Mary II.
- See the rooms Queen Victoria was raised in as a young girl, and discover how she was raised.
- Feel like royalty and explore the Palace Gardens for free; can you find Peter Pan?
Kensington Palace was originally a Jacobean manor house built in 1605, before Sir Christopher Wren began expansion for King William III and Queen Mary II. Their presence is still very much felt at the castle. The King’s Gallery holds many pieces from the Royal Collection, including van Dyck’s portrait of Charles I on horseback. The King and Queen’s separate state apartments are lavishly decorated, and will help any guest imagine they are royalty. Also important is the King’s staircase, painted by William Kent as a recreation of George I's court; discover its many colourful characters.
Further along in time to the 1800s, a new exhibition explores Queen Victoria's life and the rooms that shaped her. Not only was much of her life spent at the Palace, she also saved it from demolition. Plus, many of the pieces from the exhibition have never been seen by the public before.
Princess Diana’s 'Travolta' dress by Victor Edelstein is currently on display in her old home. The exhibition describes how the Princess was styled and designed for.
Outdoors, a choice can be made between Kensington Palace Gardens and Kensington Gardens. Kensington Palace Gardens is the more formal of the two, and separate from Kensington Gardens itself. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a more tranquil trip. Enjoy the Cradle Walk, seasonal wildflowers, and formal gardens of the palace. Kensington Gardens is better for play. The Peter Pan statue stands proudly near Long Water, and the Diana Memorial Playground is visited by 1,000,000 children every year. If the weather is nice, it’s the perfect spot to picnic before going to find the Italian Gardens or Henry Moore’s arch.
No matter what your family is looking for on a day out, whether it’s more peaceful and historical or fun and playful, there will be something for you at Kensington Palace. While you're in London, why not take a trip to the Tower of London as well?
What to know before you go
- The Kensington Palace opening times are typically Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am -5pm. Kensington Palace Gardens are open every day from 6am -9.15pm. A time slot must be booked for the Palace when purchasing a ticket, but the Gardens are available for free without a ticket and can be seen at any time.
- Kensington Place has ground-level access from Kensington Gardens. All three floors of the palace are accessible via lift.
- Baby-changing facilities are available and pushchairs can be easily taken around the palace. Pushchairs may also be left in the cloakroom.
- There are two sets of toilets, which both have disabled access; Stone Hall and Piggott Gallery (only on exit).
- The Palace Cafe is open from 10.30am to 5pm, with takeaway options or socially-distanced outside seating. The Kensington Palace Pavilion and Tea Room is currently closed. The beautiful baroque Kensington Palace Orangery is also currently closed. Picnics are welcome in the grounds of Kensington Gardens.
- The Kensington Palace Shop is open from 10.30am to 5pm, and is also available online if something's out of stock on the day you visit.
- If you fancy a stay in London, there are many hotels near Kensington Palace. The Milestone Hotel Kensington is in a prime position, as is the Baglioni Hotel London.
- Buckingham Palace is only two miles away from Kensington Palace, or a 40-minute walk. If you’re interested in other Royal Family homes, your next visit could be to Windsor Castle. If you just enjoy historic buildings, Warwick Castle has a huge 1,100 years of history to explore too.
- There are four train stations within walking distance of the palace: High Street Kensington station (District, Circle and Piccadilly lines), Queensway station (Central line), Notting Hill Gate station (Central, District and Circle lines) Paddington station (National Rail). The Palace is in Zone 1.
- For bus travel, routes 70, 94 and 148 stop along Bayswater Road and routes 9, 49, 52, 70 and 452 stop along Kensington High Street. If you would like to go to Oxford Street for shopping before or after, the bus you'd take would be the 94.
- The nearest car parks are the Q-Park Queensway and Euro Car Park Bayswater Road, both around a nine-minute walk away.